Janel Lanae Young is living proof that an education can be a way out for those in difficult circumstances. Young graduated from Ohio State University and gave birth at the age of 15 to her daughter, Malia— and she is proving that a young mother does not need to abort her child to succeed in life.
NBCi4.com recently reported on Young’s inspiring and encouraging story, and the anchors did note that Young defeated the odds.
“Only half of all teen moms ever get their high school diploma,” a reporter said before sharing about Young’s graduation from OSU.
Young’s struggle wasn’t merely that she gave birth at the young age of 15. She gave birth while in foster care, and had been through nine foster care homes and eight high schools. During her young life, she had been abused by her alcoholic mother, suffered several sexual assaults, and attempted suicide three times.
However, Young still continued her education. While in the fifth grade, she was nominated for the Ohio State University’s Young Scholars Program, which enabled her to attend college for free, and as a result, Young has no student loan debt. With her degree in social work, Young hopes to give back and help girls like her in the foster care system.
While Young cared for her daughter, she had to attend mandatory meetings every two weeks, but she was assisted by a case worker who drove her, fed her, and watched after her daughter.
“After four case workers, I finally found one that cared about me,” Young said.
Young and her daughter, Malia, both had positive things to say. Malia knows her mom is a fighter and sends her love notes of appreciation and thanks. Their house is full of pictures of Malia, since Young doesn’t have any photos of herself from when she was a child.
Although Young did not initially see her pregnancy as a positive thing, her feelings of pain did not remain forever:
And for me to get pregnant within the first month of my freshman year of high school, I just felt like I went through all these things to hurt, like I was just born to hurt. But over time I really think that I got pregnant so God could show me unconditional love, like real love.
Young’s story is certainly inspiring, and it shows that young moms can make it through anything and everything. Abortion does not need to be the answer; a child oftentimes even helps a mother get through her situation, as it has with Young. Young and her daughter are living proof that women are strong and can make it through difficult situations.
However, young women in similar difficult circumstances are told that abortion is their way out. Women cite education and career concerns, as well as abuse as reasons for getting an abortion at overwhelmingly high rates. Pro-abortion advocates on campus have even claimed an abortion is the answer for pregnant college students.
What if Young had an abortion? Not only would Malia never have been born, but it’s not clear what Young’s path would have been. Suppose she suffered physically or psychologically from her abortion. She may have been told, and convinced, that she needed to have an abortion to succeed, and yet it’s still possible she would not have.
Fortunately, we don’t know. Young has and loves her daughter, and still managed to graduate from college debt-free, fortunate to have her daughter with her.
For those students who are pregnant, Students for Life of America is a good place for resources. For those students who are pregnant on college campuses, they may find the Pregnant on Campus initiative particularly helpful.